UbcD1, a Drosophila ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme required for proper telomere behavior

Giovanni Cenci, Robert B. Rawson, Giorgio Belloni, Diego H. Castrillon, Mark Tudor, Romano Petrucci, Michael L. Goldberg, Steven A. Wasserman, Maurizio Gatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The end-to-end association of chromosomes through their telomeres has been observed in normal cells of certain organisms, as well as in senescent and tumor cells. The molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are currently unknown. We show here that five independent mutant alleles in the Drosophila UbcD1 gene cause frequent telomere-telomere attachments during both mitosis and male meiosis that are not seen in wild type. These telomeric associations involve all the telomeres of the D. melanogaster chromosome complement, albeit with different frequencies. The pattern of telomeric associations observed in UbcD1 mutants suggests strongly that the interphase chromosomes of wild-type larval brain cells maintain a Rabl orientation within the nucleus, with the telomeres and centromeres segregated to opposite sides of the nucleus. The UbcD1 gene encodes a class I ubiquitin-conjugating (E2) enzyme. This indicates that ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis is normally needed to ensure proper telomere behavior during Drosophila cell division. We therefore suggest that at least one of the targets of UbcD1 ubiquitination is a telomere-associated polypeptide that may help maintain proper chromosomal orientation during interphase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-875
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 1997


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • telomere behavior
  • ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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